Democratic Alliance (DA) Johannesburg mayoral candidate Mpho Phalatse recently spoke to Briefly News in an exclusive, tell-all interview. The mayoral hopeful held very little back as she unpacked her current campaign efforts as she looks to rise to the pinnacle seat of governance in the metropolitan district of Gauteng's economic hub.
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The Democratic Alliance (DA)'s Johannesburg mayoral candidate Mpho Phalatse says she has come full circle and has a lot to offer as her party charge for the hot seat amid local government elections campaigning ahead of 1 November.
The qualified medical doctor and self-proclaimed government technocrat sat down with Briefly News to unpack her campaign vision and the service delivery commitments she hopes to make good on should she become the new Johannesburg mayor.
In a passionate address riddled with expletives during the DA's campaign launch in Johannesburg on Saturday, 11 September, Phalatse did not hold back on the promises.
Focusing on her promise of "cleaning up the city", Phalatse said this comes in different forms, including residents playing a part in looking after the very same communities she hopes to serve as mayor.
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"Physical cleaning up is the role of residents and the City alike and will happen through good governance, which is a known brand of the DA.
"If you go to any DA-run city, you'll find it clean, and that's because the entities responsible for this area are working," said Phalatse, who added that her party will implement by-laws and issue fines to deter illegal dumping, among other things.
"The figurative cleaning up speaks to corruption and people in the City who aren't here to serve residents, etc. Through good governance, we will be able to root out corruption.
"We've set up a unit to ensure they have adequate capacity for residents, councillors and others to report anything that looks like corruption and for whistle-blowers to be protected," added the mayoral candidate.
A vision for integrated and incorruptible policing
Outlining a utopian vision for eradicating crime, notably indicating her party will work to fix the Johannesburg Metro Police Department (JMPD), Phalatse said they would strive for integrated policing.
She explained that the JMPD's mandate is limited, needing the South African Police Service (SAPS) to lend a firm hand towards fighting crime within the City of Johannesburg if the objective of honing an incorruptible law enforcement force is to b achieved.
"We will strengthen inter-governmental relations to ensure that even agencies outside of the City's immediate [jurisdiction] will do what they are supposed to do," outlined Phalatse.
"We will make it easier to work across tiers of government, hold SAPS and other law enforcement agencies to account, and work with community organisations that do law enforcement.
"We will also empower our residents to work with us to identify incidents of crime while making it easy and safe for them to report on such incidents."
A contentious issue that continues to be the thorn in the side for Johannesburg residents is service delivery.
When asked how this will be fast-tracked to ensure a smoother occupancy within the City while ensuring optimum, uninterrupted delivery, Phalatse, who has worked in the public service for the past 15 years, said this remains a governance issue.
"We need a thorough diagnosis of every area where we are not delivering services to get to the bottom of why we aren't delivering. We already have an idea of what the issues are in a lot of areas," said the former Johannesburg ward councillor.
"Again, corruption is one of them. In some cases, there are incentives for people not to do the right thing as they benefit from corrupt contracts with the City that are keeping people in bondage.
Poor governance and longstanding corruption
Phalatse, having served as the MMC for Health and Social Development from 2016 to 2019, explained that governance framework issues are also to blame for the lack of service delivery.
As a case in point, she said the Citizen Relations and Urban Management (CRAM), a department of the City of Johannesburg which houses regional directors and managers of the various government parastatals, does not have the muscle to carry out its mandate.
"They don't have authority over depots in the region and, therefore, are unable to hold them to account. That is a structural issue within our governance model that we need to change.
"Entities such as Johannesburg Water, City Power and the Johannesburg Roads Agency are a law unto themselves," added Phalatse.
"They are not serving the residents as they should, which is due to poor contractual agreements between these entities and the City.
"We will be looking to strengthen contract management between the City and those entities to ensure they do what they are supposed to and that there are also strict clauses within those contracts for consequence management upon non-service delivery."
'This is unacceptable': Clashes between ANC and EFF members at IEC centres in KZN
In other news, Briefly News recently reported that ugly scenes broke out at the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC)'s registration centres at Kwa-Dambuza and Willowfontein townships in Pietermaritzburg in KwaZulu-Natal on Sunday.
Malema reacted by saying the elections cannot be free and fair when the governing party is blocking other parties from registering voters.
According to a SABC News report, ANC members were allegedly seen blocking the former ANC Youth League leader from entering the registration station in Kwa-Dambuza.
Malema met even stronger resistance at Willowfontein's Thandokuhle registration station, where the gates were reportedly locked, IOL reported.